“ 4 LED headlamp with 3 lighting levels. „
Petzl are one of the most prestigious mountaineering / climbing companies around. They were founded by Fernand Petzl, who himself was a professional extreme caver, and like most pro`s he had an idea on how to make the antiquated equipment he had to use, better and began to design new head torches and other equipment.
Nowadays Petzl are known amongst the climbing fraternity to produce medium to high quality, medium - high spec gear, and have been at it for some time. These days however they get allot of competition from other high spec companies such as Black Diamond and Grivel.
Petzl are especially good at making head torches, they make them light and powerful (for their size) this one for example weighs in at 78 grams, I think that's less than a Mars bar, but they are not cheap. The Tikka is such a head torch from their typical range. I`ve used this on a few shorter expedition climbs and one very scary, very long caving trip , my introduction to that sport. This torch uses four LEDs to emit light in four distinct modes: Maximum, lower then maximum bright, energy saving and flashing for emergencies or look out exercises. The torch is also waterproof down to 10 meters, enough for any caver.
Obviously you don't want to cane the battery so the most optimum mode to save power and actually have enough light to move around the campsite, play cards and use easy walking trails and pathways, I would say is the bright mode, however if you are moving across dodgy terrain and want to see a bad divot before you step into it, Maximum is good for wider and longer range especially if travelling navigating by night. The energy saving mode is great for in-tent activities, when you do not want a floodlight shoved in your face every five seconds, or in my case, when you partner wants to go to sleep but you want to read for a bit, so it has many functions. The flashing mode can be a bit of a conundrum at first, I tend to think of it as an emergency function really, for getting attention if you've had a bad run of things, so people will know that you are not just sitting down at night....with a broken leg, in a crevasse. Obviously it depends on the environment. Other people use it for a bike light jobby, but in all seriousness I wouldn`t think that anyone would spend that much money on a bike light when they could buy one from Halfords for a fiver.
Previous models on allot of different torches has a slider at the top of the casing to switch between modes, but I remember this to be quite annoying, as you would often slide over too much and miss the mode that you wanted to get, this was especially difficult to do if you was moving. Now some bright spark at Petzl has made it allot easier. Now you simply switch between the four modes by pressing the red rubber button on the top of the casing. This is an improvement over previous models which had a sliding switch as you can operate it easily when wearing gloves, a very useful feature. The first click put you onto the bright mode and then 3 successive clicks goes through the other 3 modes available, simple. The light is fully adjustable up and down to about 90 degrees meaning you can move it to your eye level down to the ground immediately in front of you no problem.
The headband is very good elastic and has one simple circumference band and not the annoying and highly pointless overhead band that cheaper torches have, they are really annoying and often don't work anyway. The band is 25mm in width, but it is doesn't dig in or is not too tight in one specific area to be uncomfortable. The elastic is strong without being too restrictive on the old blood roadways. Being a simple one band it does have any annoying and painful plastic connectors other than with the torch, which has foam all around its back anyway, this means that it gives great comfort and stays neatly and tightly to the head, or more often a helmet. I also like the camouflage look, it`s pretty cool and stand out compared to other torches.
Like most torches of its kind the battery compartment is pretty small, and in the true nature of keeping weight down, there are no large block batteries, it is powered by three AAA batteries. A new set of batteries should give you up to >150 hours of light when the head torch is on energy saving mode. But let`s be honest, this is an optimistic assessment, one for the packaging I suspect, I think 100 hours are more realistic. As with most torches is does not give you the same level of light for the entire period, it does get dimmer and so it gives you light - yes, but it is not usable light on rough terrain, it really depends on how much you use it. Give illumination up to 23 meters, which I have found to be more than enough. Now the tricky part is changing the buggers, this head torch has a removable panel at the back of the unit, it's a bit fiddly but the opening sequence does force out the first AAA and then you can get at the rest to replace them which is handy. I`ve always found trying to get these small batteries out to be annoying without finger nails.
Overall I have found this head torch to be a very reliable addition to my earlier climbs and I found it very easy to use. There are cheaper ones out there, but really you should not accept any substitutes.
Petzl headtorches have been constantly upgraded and they always surprise me by how they can add something so simple but it makes a big difference.
Ive had Petzl headtorches for about 10 years, when they went to LED mode it was shocking that you didnt have to carry a spare bag full of batteries and spare bulbs to last you a weekend. Following this they added the 3 levels of brightness to further conserve battery life. Then they added the flashing mode for those needing to attract attension when lost (however more often used for campsite disco's).
The Tikka plus have added a red LED, no more do you need to blind fellow campers everytime you move your head. A very simple addition but very well recieved especially if your group all have the red option, although it does make the group look like something out of an 80's horror movie on a misty night.
At full brightness the torch can illuminate up to 35m on a clear night. More than enough to see where you're going or be seen by. Good batteries (3 x AAA) can easily give over 100 hours of use, so I only take one as a spare which will easily give an evening or 2 of power until you can get to a shop.
The batteries sit behind the torch so you dont have the annotance of a block at the back of the head which makes some head torches awkward to use in bed. The battery compartment is a tight seal so its shower proof but it does mean opening the battery pack can be a bit of a chore and needs some sort of hard plastic or metal implement to get in.
The torch can be angled down in 4 positions depending on what you are needing the light for. The headband is adjustable for the biggest and smallest of heads and even fits around helmets.
At £25-30 its towards the top end of the 'standard' headtorches but Petzl are quality and reliable and in my experience it will be just as cost effective as budget items and you wont feel the need to take a spare.
I bought one of these over a year ago and it is without a doubt the best headtorch i have ever owned! At first it seems quite expensive at £30-£40 but believe me it is well worth it compare to cheaper versions.
The first thing i love about this headtorch is that it is so comfortable. If your wearing a headtorch for a long time it is very important that it is comfortable and this really is. I used to own a headtorch that had a battery pack at the back of the head, but the problem was it kept sagging and was irritating to where. It is comfortable for two reasons. Firstly, it is extremely lightweight meaning that after a while you forget that you are wearing it. Secondly, it is very simplistic. There is just one elasticated band that fits snuggly round your head, tight enough to make it secure, but not squeezing your head, and the rest is contained in a small box at the front. There is also a very simple buckle on the strap which makes it easy to tighten or loosen. The one band strap, also means that the straps cannot get tangled, so when you really need it you do not have to try and untangle the straps, especially in the dark. This is a huge benifit over my previous torch.
The torch packs down really small. The strap weighs hardly anything and the front box is the size of a small matchbox and is not heavy either. It fits very easily into small pockets etc, without weighing them down. It runs of 3 triple a batteries which are easily accesed and changed.
The simplicity of the design does not only make it comfortble to wear. It also makes it extremely to use. There is just one button at the front to switch it on/ off and changing brightness. I also like that after 5 sec of being on the next time you press it, it turns it off without going through all the other functions first. It also remembers what mode you had it in last which comes in really handy. The simplicity, also makes it look modern and fashionable to wear.
Even after all of this, the headlamp still beats other torches at brightness. I have a handheld maglite and it is even brighter than that, and packs to about 1/3 of the size. It produces a clear white light of 50 lumens without any dark spots, which is perfect for most outdoor activities. The only down side is that the light cannot be focussed, but this is not to be expected on a headlamp. One of the things that amazes me is the battery life when you consider how bright it is and that it only runs of 3 triple a batteries. It lasts a solid 40hrs no problem - amazing!
We've all been there: arriving at a campsite at midnight in the pouring rain and trying to put up a tent as quickly as possible, hands getting numb, all the while trying to fumble a torch between hands, knees, teeth, ears. Whilst this headtorch won't stop the rain or make your sleeping bag any drier once you finally get in it, it will help speed up the process and keep your mouth free for cursing your choice not to just stay in a hotel as well as making everyday camping life that bit easier.
This head torch has four modes: Maximum, bright, energy saving and flashing. The maximum mode is good for looking across terrain when navigating at night. Bright (or normal) mode is good for walking along clear paths and trails and energy saving is more than adequate for campsite activities. Afterall, you don't want a huge amount of light giving away your position when you're caught short in the middle of the night and having a sneaky pee in the bushes!
The flashing mode has three main uses:
1. If you're out on the hills at night and have an accident it's a useful way of getting attention and, hopefully, help. This setting could save your life!
2. When used cycling on roads it does a good job of alerting motorists to your presence. Again, this setting could save your life.
3. The less useful but more fun function this mode serves is annoying your friends. I don't need to explain further other than to say this probably won't save your life.
You switch between modes by pressing the big flat button on the top of the head torch. This is an improvement over previous models which had a sliding switch as you can operate it easily when wearing gloves, a very useful feature.
The torch is powered by three AAA batteries. The manufacturer claims that a fresh set of batteries will give you up to 150 hours of light on energy saving mode, although realistically I've found this to be optimistic. Whilst it would probably give out light for that long by the end of the 150 hours the light will be dim. This torch does not maintain a constant light level regardless of battery life, rather the light gradually gets dimmer as the batteries age. All this said I have never had a problem with the battery life and have only had to replace them once in a year of ownership.
Batteries are changed by removing the back of the torch. The action of opening pushes out the old batteries, making room for the new. Unfortunately this means pushing the new batteries in can be tricky. Not too bad when you're sitting on the sofa, but quite a bit trickier when you're in the middle of nowhere, your hands are numb and you've suddenly been plunged into darkness.
The headband is adjustable from quite big to quite small and is elasticated so really is suitable for everyone. It's roomy enough to fit over bulky climbing or cycling helmets and provides a secure, snug fit. I have never found it uncomfortable to wear or use and there are no sharp plastic corners to dig in anywhere.
Overall, I would say this is an excellent torch. It's sturdy, plenty bright enough and batteries seemingly last forever. It has useful settings, a comfortable headband and is built to last. If a friend were looking for a head torch I would happily recommend this one. Selling at about £30 this torch is excellent value for money.
I bought my Petzl Tikka Plus a year ago, for £25 online, and it has surpassed all my expectations. I have been using Petzl Tikka headlamps for nearly a decade as I spend a lot of time travelling and working in rural locations in Africa and Asia where electricity is a scarce luxury. Having a personal light source to find your way around camp, for cooking, or to see what you are eating in the pitch blackness is vital. Even better if is attached to your head as there is nothing worse than trying to carry out daily activities with only one hand.
These headlamps are designed for climbing but they are extremely multifunctional as I have found. Even if you don't travel or enjoy extreme sports they are useful to use at home. I gave my relegated old Petzl Tikka to my dad to use when he's fixing things around the house. He's thrilled that he can now fix plumbing under the sink or the wiring in the loft without the help of a precariously balanced torch, and with the use of both his hands.
The reason I chose to upgrade my original Petzl Tikka to this new and improved Petzl Tikka Plus was purely the increased light intensity. The extra LED didn't disappoint. The torch has two modes - an economy mode using only half the 4 LEDs and a super bright mode - using all 4. The economy mode is great for most close up activities such as reading in bed, cooking, putting up your tent, etc. The super bright mode is fantastic however for seeing things in the distance. I can easily watch wildlife that is up to 20m away, bats in the trees, civets in the bushes, that kind of thing! And it's great for getting around camp if you're a little afraid of the dark like I am. There's no chance of a hyena jumping out the trees without me spotting it first when I'm using the Petzl Tikka Plus on super bright mode. Which is always a good thing!
Changing between the two modes is easily done with the one large button on top. One click for super bright, two for economy. Three presses and it'll flash, which is always useful in an emergency situation, although luckily I've never had to test out that!
Another feature is the red LED, which is great for providing light which wildlife can't see or alternatively protecting your night vision. Simply holding down the large button on top switches between red and white LED modes.
The torch comes on a nifty little adjustable hinge that allows you to point it up or down without having to actually point your forehead up and down. It's a very useful feature and new to this model.
The battery life is pretty good, I'd say easily 20 hours on economy mode and perhaps 8 on super bright mode. A little less than advertised on all the websites, but isn't that always the case in reality. It takes 3 AAA batteries, and I'd recommend you stock up on a few sets of UK brand batteries before heading out into the wilds, as African/Asian brand batteries definitely needed to be changed more often. The batteries compartment can be a little stiff to open at first but it gets easier over time, and don't worry it won't break from a bit of brute force, I've already tried that!
The unit seems to be pretty waterproof as well. I've worn it in the rain many a time and while I wouldn't recommend completely submerging it in water, the rubber seal around the battery compartment has kept any water out so far.
The torch headband comes in a choice of colours, and I chose the white and purple one. It's nice and girly and you can reverse it if you like to the mainly purple side which will keep it looking a little cleaner than if the mainly white side is exposed to the elements. The headband is comfortable and fully adjustable and as long as you get it right it won't cut off your circulation nor end up as a neck torch!
This review also appears on Ciao under my username sbeach000
My son loves his sports from skateboarding, caving, rock climbing to cycling he is into all the extreme sports and likes to ride his mountain bike a lot too, he often goes off with a back pack and heads of into the mountains do ride.
So a few years ago I bought him a Petzl LED Headlamp Tikka Plus this cost me £24 from a cycling shop in town and you can also buy them online at Amazon or other web sites for around £25.
The head band is durable and fits all sizes of head, as you can adjust it to your size. It is elasticated material and so fits comfortably onto the top part of your head with the head light facing frontwards on your forehead.
There are two light sources with this head light and one is red and one is white they are both LED.
The white LED delivers 50 lumens in maximum mode and lights up to 35 meters. In economic mode, it can reach a burn-time of 140 hours.
The red LED provides spare lighting to preserve night vision or to become a strobe light for increased safety, for example in an urban environment where there are cars that need to see you in the dark.
It Operates on 3 AAA/LR03 batteries and these come with the headlight. These do last quite a while but it is always good to take spares with you especially if you are riding at night or enjoy pot holeing or mountain climbing and camp over night at wherever you are outdoors.
The design of the headlamp is a good fashionable design with a square lamp at the front of the head band and comes in different colours, from gray, black, red and multi coloured, depending on your choice.
This has been a handy gadget for my son to take with him on his gaunts out especially when he went pot holing and caving, which I was very glad he had a light with him.
I always worry about him when he does these outdoor sports as its not something I myself have the bottle to do, so the thought of him at least being able to see in the dark reasures me a little, but that's mothers for you always worrying about the little things.
I must admit to trying it out a few times though at night when he has come to stay and I have had to go out to the coal bunker to fill up the coal shuttle, it's amazing to be able to see where your going in the dark and have your hands free to do your chores, although it's not really for this it comes in handy and I like to play with gadgets, they are quite novel sometimes.
If your into outdoor pursuits and are looking for a good headlamp for that hands free sport then this is a good one to have it lights up the whole area around you to about 35 metres and fits tightly to any sized head without slipping off or feeling uncomfortable.
10 out of 10 from me.
As I've mentioned before, my family and I do quite a lot of camping, and one of the most useful pieces of equipment I have is my headlamp, the Petzl LED Headlamp Tikka Plus. They have done their best to make it look exciting and 'outdoorsy' but I still look like a fool in mine. I'd rather look silly though than be tripping up over things in the dark or scrabbling around on my hands and knees trying to find objects I've put down somewhere in the tent.
Standard torches are all well and good, but using them means that you lose the use of one of your hands - a headtorch provides light whilst you have both hands free and is always shining where you're looking, i.e. where you need it to shine. Petzl make a range of outdoor torches for activities such as camping, night fishing, caving etc, and I had an older model many years ago that lasted me around 10 years, so before buying this one I knew that being Petzl it should be long lasting and durable. I bought mine online from eBay for £24, which considering how long it should last is very good value.
The Tikka Plus contains 4 LEDs that generate the light, and has 4 different settings to it. The first 3 dictate how bright the light shines, making this very flexible, and the 4th setting is a flashing light - if you hurt yourself out in the dark somewhere, or something goes horribly wrong, this setting would be very useful for attracting attention and help as it's much more noticable than a static light. The headlamp is also waterproof, which is good for wetter activities or in poor weather.
The strap and lamp together are very lightweight, and once on weigh no more than a standard hat, infact I've found it quite easy to forget I'm wearing one. The camo-like design with the Petzl logo is nice enough and wouldn't look too ridiculous on either gender, and even though it's elasticised, it's comfortable to wear due to it's wide band, so it doesn't dig in.
The bulbs are said to last a lifetime by Petzl, and are very bright, easily illuminating a wide area (32m on the 'Maximum' setting). The torch uses 3 x AAA batteries, 1 set of which came with the torch when I bought it. The batteries and changing them (which you shouldn't have to very often considering that even on the maximum setting they will last around 100 hours) are the only slight problem with this headlamp. Getting the back off the battery section to change them is quite difficult and it always takes me a good 10 minutes of struggling to prise the back off.
Aside from the battery issue though, which in the end makes the product better as the tight battery back aids the waterproof ability, this is a dependable, solid and trustworthy headlamp that I plan on having a lot more use out of.
Why A Headlamp?
The wearer of a head-torch is never going to win any style awards - in fact you end up looking like a ridiculous cross between Rambo and a Dalek. Yet, the benefits headlamps provide far outweigh any self-consciousness or ridicule they attract. The most obvious plus is that, unlike with a normal torch, you are left with both hands free, and there is no need to sandwich it between your knees or under your chin when dexterity is required. Headlamps also follow your head movements, so wherever your eyes fall is automatically illuminated. The best aspect for the outdoor adventurer or traveller is that head-torches are light, compact and remarkably simple to pack.
Petzl are widely believed to make the best outdoor torches at a price available to the average consumer. The founder of the company, Fernand Petzl, was a professional extreme caver, and the equipment he began to design and improve for his own use evolved into one of the worlds favourite outdoor equipment companies in the 1970s. I have used several different styles of Petzl head-torch, and have found them to be consistently comfortable, long-lasting and reliable.
The Petzl Tikka Plus
For the last few years I have owned the Petzl Tikka Plus:
Bulbs - 4 LEDs
Settings - 4 (3 levels of brightness, 1 flashing)
Weight - 78g (including batteries)
Articulating beam direction system
The strap is made of strong elastic with a brown camo-type design, sporting the brand name in white and orange. The overall appearance is sporty outdoor chic, and it is certainly suitable for all ages and genders. The strap is looped through a plastic buckle design on the back of the lamp head. Therefore, the fabric of the strap is continuous and there are no joins which can wear and give way. The strap is highly elasticised, but as it is 25mm in width, its power is evenly distributed over a reasonably large area of head, so there is no digging in, or strap marks. The fabric has quite a felt-like spongy feel, so overall the torch is very comfortable to wear, and grips well to the head never shifting with movement. To compensate for all sizes of noggin, there is a plastic buckle system at the back with comb-grips, to tighten and loosen the strap. Once the size is set for your head there is no need to ever adjust it - the torch is just put on like a sweatband.
There are 4 LED bulbs, which according to Petzl will last a lifetime. Apart from eliminating the need to carry any spare bulbs, the LEDs are also extremely bright. The torch is operated by a single large orange button located on the top - which is easy to see in the light, and which is textured for finger grip so it can be quickly located in the dark or when wearing the torch. One click turns the torch on, initially to the brightest setting, and progressive clicks on the same button moves through the range of settings. To turn the torch off the same button is held down for a few seconds pause.
The Tikka Plus has four illumination settings -
Maximum is ultra-bright and throws light for 32m. I have used this torch when working for conservation services and found this level of light spot on for illuminating rough terrain in pitch darkness. The batteries provide light at maximum level for about 100 hours.
Optimum is bright and illuminates for a distance of 23m. This is good for general use, such as walking around familiar settings and studying maps in the dark. The batteries provide light at this level for 120 hours.
Economy is quite dim and illuminates for a distance of 15m, adequate for night-time reading - so easy to do with a headlamp. The batteries last for 150 hours on economy mode.
Flashing is a bright blinking light. I have never had to use this setting in practice, but it would be ideal for alerting a search party in an emergency. The batteries can blink the torch for 400 hours.
The lamp is mounted on to an articulating base, which pivots to 3 degrees of tilt to accurately focus light in particular directions. This is easy to adjust by simply clicking the lamp up or down, and can be achieved one handed. There is also a small lip directly below the LEDs which reduces glare for spectacle wearers.
The Tikka Plus is operated with 3 x AAA batteries (which are supplied with the torch). These are inserted by clicking the lamp down to the lowest tilt position and pushing in a plastic tab to open the battery compartment. However, this is quite difficult to do, and is the only negative feature I have found about this torch. No doubt this is to ensure water resistance, but I find it impossible to do using only fingers, but carefully using a coin or key it is quick and simple. The whole unit weighs only 78g including the batteries, so it is almost possible to forget you are wearing it at times, and it certainly does not impede any movements. As the batteries run down, each setting retains it distinct brightness, but the light is progressively thrown a shorter distance.
Over the years I have found the Tikka Plus indispensable. It is extremely robust and has stood up to many hours of service, been squashed into rucksacks, trodden on, dropped and still functions as good as new. It has endured conditions from extreme humidity and heat, to dust and torrential rain without faltering, the plastic cracking or the strap fraying. I have found it to be remarkably light, effortless to carry and comfortable to wear. As the torch is water resistant it is easy to sponge down the plastic and rinse the strap without causing any damage. When, and if, my headlamp reaches the end of its natural life, I will be sure to replace it with another from Petzl.
The Petzl Tikka Plus retails at £30 at the Coltswold Outdoor Company, or for a little less at online stores.
It comes with a 3 year guarantee.